“Do you love me?” – John 21:17
Love is a strange thing. Especially what I thought was love growing up. Sometimes I see old flames out and about and memories just flood me. There were some girls that really liked me that I just didn’t like back. I might see them now and even feel sorry for them for a bit, not that they want or need my pity. It always makes me think of that George Straight song, “You can’t make a heart love somebody.” Other girls completely flipped that around and absolutely crushed me. I recall actually praying for God to change their minds. Then, of course, I think of the Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers.” Whatever emotion you’ve had in a relationship, some country song has covered it.
It is amazing to me that God has always had feelings of pure and absolute love towards me. The Bible says that even before I was knit in the womb, He knew me (Jeremiah 1:5). I love Him back now, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, I have treated Him just like those girls I really liked, but didn’t like me back. As soon as I found something better, I would turn from Him and forget about Him so easily. As much as this hurts to think about right now, it really does emphasize what I believe is the greatest miracle that God still performs today: He takes a God hating, Bible hating, could not care less about Him heart and changes it into a heart that loves Him and desires Him and His will above all other things. This is absolutely astounding! He does it all. He will change your heart and make it whole if you will give it all to Him. All you have to do is start the process. So, what is the process?
I believe in Him.
Some people actually think that because they believe God exists that they are going to Heaven. Unfortunately, for so many people, James 2:19 says that demons also believe and it obviously isn’t doing them any eternal good. But, believing He exists is a good starting point. In the same way some believe that the right person is “out there” for them, many believe God is “out there” somewhere. I can’t remember a time where I did not at least believe that God exists.
I am acquainted with Him.
I remember actually starting to pay attention in church. Ronnie Hodge at Calvary Baptist in Salem, SC told the best Bible stories. I loved listening to him. I began to learn what God had done for other people. It just so happened that every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night I would “bump into” God. I didn’t know Him personally, but I sure did like hearing about Him and what He had done for others. It never really crossed my mind that knowing Him personally was possible.
I do life with Him.
Here is where life transformation happens. How do you fall in love? Well, you do things together. You do life together. My first taste of God was so sweet. I took Him to work with me for the first time ever. I did something wrong and wanted to lie about it. Because I had Him with me, I couldn’t. I told the truth and He worked it all out for me. I liked having Him with me.
I learned that He likes to take walks. Taking walks wasn’t really my thing. Because He liked them, I started walking anyway. It just so turns out, walking with Him is one of the sweetest pleasures that life offers.
I learned that He likes praise and worship music. I wanted Him to ride along beside me, so I’ll never forget the day I took out my Metallica “And Justice for All” cassette and turned on 89.3 His Radio. I heard a band called “The Big Tent Revival” sing a song called “The Best Thing in Life” and cried for the first time because of the Presence of God. It wasn’t too hard to switch genres after that.
I learned that He likes it when I preach His Word. He knew I was absolutely terrified to even entertain this thought. He said seven simple words that at least got me to try, “I will be right there with you.” He likes feeding my mind ideas as I read His Word. He likes just hanging out with me in these morning hours. On my own, I would have never gotten up super early to do anything. But, with God here, I love it.
I love Him.
This Thanksgiving, if you believe in God and at least bump into Him every now and again, think about what it would look like to start doing life with Him. The best way to fall in love is just start doing things together. Find out what He likes and do those things with Him. Ask Him to ride with you and play music He likes. Ask Him to sit with you and read something He likes. Go to the movies and watch something He likes. Eventually, you will do what millions have done . . .
Fall in love.